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The Democratization of Product Development: A World for the Brave.


Author: Luis O'Cleiry, CMSO

4 minutes to read

About 5,500 years ago, in Mesopotamia, the wheel was invented by someone who definitely had a transportation problem. Other great inventions in history, that have become part of our lives today, are the pendulum clock, created by Christiaan Huygens (an astronomist, physic and inventor); the first handheld camera, was created by a monk and writer named Johann Zahn and the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell – he was also an inventor.

Dare to begin, dare to invent

I’m sure they were very skilled people and probably developed their hardware products themselves, or maybe drew up their ideas on a piece of papyrus or paper and took it to the nearest skilled craftsperson, to get it done. The thing is, they were brave enough to pursue their ideas to make them real!

Have you ever come up with a technological idea of something that you know could do the world real good?

Have you ever come up with a technological idea (or not) of something that you know could do the world, or your jobs, real good and you have not pursued it? Why is that? What stopped you?

The fact of the matter, is that people don’t invest in their ideas because:

  1. They don’t have the capabilities to create it on their own (those that do, are called Makers but are few).
  2. They just don’t know how to get it done or who to go to help them.
  3. They may find one of many engineering consultancies which can develop it for them but many-a-time, these are slow (your project will never be a priority for them), very costly in creating a first prototype and you will never be in control of the process (which is quite frustrating for something that you are paying for and spending your precious time on).

This is why most technological inventions come from companies and even product startups, as they have the knowledge to create and the funding and human resources to develop them.

But when it comes to inventing, this is a world for the brave and it should be a world open to anyone (not just the selected group above), no matter their nature or background, because everyone has the potential to contribute with their ideas to the evolution of technology.

Frank the farmer, Rachel the traumatologist or Richard the hair stylist, all are professionals who know their jobs well and know what devices may improve their everyday work. They are the potential inventors that can create great and useful new innovations in their professions if they only knew how to proceed in an economical and timely manner.

I looked into what others wrote and I searched for statistics on the amount of dreams thrown into the bin because the potential inventor did not know how to make it happen…

Before writing this post, I looked into what others wrote and I searched for statistics on the amount of dreams thrown into the bin because the potential inventor did not know how to make it happen or, when they did, they were backed out by the price of getting it done. I could not find any statistics on this, so I invite you, when you read this post, to try and add it the discussion – or tell us your own experience if you prefer.

I am sure that people like Frank, Rachel or Richard would definitely pursue their ideas to make them real if they knew of new solutions that would help them create their innovations in a more economical and accessible way. This is sure to be found in the digital world, a place where just anything can happen and where new services model in a disruptive way. I’ve researched a lot about engineering consultancies, from the big to the small ones and I have not found one that has changed its business model when its gone digital – yes, very fancy and nice looking on the wrapping, but in the end, you tell them your idea and they charge you based on time and number of engineers & designers working on your project. Shouldn’t there be a new way of approaching this? Shouldn’t there be something more accessible for everyone and not just for a few?

There are a number of interesting platforms with on-demand talent to help you create, by following a more accessible model but I’ve also observed that they do not specialise in hardware technology development – they are open to any type of engagement; from graphic designs to web/app designs and to sales and marketing. I’m not saying they may not be a good solution but if you are looking to bind a book, wouldn’t you go to your local print store? I am of the opinion that if one needs help to create something in a specific field, it’s better to go to specialist than to a multi-service solution.

So, what I am trying to conclude with, is that you shouldn’t be afraid of making your idea come true. There are new ways of creating things in a different way and you have to discover them.

So go forth inventors! Now is the time to be brave. If you have an innovative idea that you want to make real, don’t hesitate to take action!

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